November 22, 2018 Serbia

Serbians Still Cherish Long-gone Yugoslav Holiday

Years after Yugoslavia ceased to exist, many Serbians retain fond memories of the nationwide celebrations of Republic Day – and still celebrate it each November 29.

November 29 celebrtaion in Pirot, in 1960s. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Historical Archive in Pirot

Ivana Nikolic

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Vida Evstratiev can still remember the pride she felt as the most important state holiday in Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia was approaching.

Each November 29, school children across the country would take part in the celebration of Republic Day, marking the day when Tito’s communist-led Partisans met in Jajce (in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina) to agree on the future and core tenets of post-war Yugoslavia.

The newly-formed state was officially pronounced in 1945, while its first constitution came into effect in January 1946.

Vida, who was born in 1956 in the central Serbian town of Kraljevo, was among those who celebrated the Republic Day.

“November 29 was a nationwide joy,” Vida told BIRN. “We children were proud and happy to be part of a post-war generation, united in one big country, under one leader. We were just as sad when he [Tito] died.”

Celebrations were prepared weeks and even months before the actual day. Vida recalls competitions, academic lectures, parades, sporting events, theatre plays about the Partisans’ fight in the war and many other events.

On the big day, school pupils were sworn in as Tito’s Pioneers, got a blue cap, called a “Titovka”, a red scarf and a red Pioneer booklet.

“We were the generations that wore the red scarf proudly and were very delighted to participate in the parades,” Vida adds.

November 29 also meant two days off and a rich dining table, which invariably featured roast lamb or pork.

“There were even people who did not celebrate their family’s saint’s day [slava] or New Year’s Eve but Republic Day instead. They would prepare lots of food and call over friends and family members,” Vida says.

She recalls how, after Tito died in May 1980, things soon started to change.

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Belgrade Insight to be integrated into Balkan Insight

After a 265 issue run, Belgrade Insight, BIRN’s bi-weekly Belgrade-focused English-language newspaper, printed its last paper edition on Friday 21 December, 2018. 

In its decade-long life since 2008, Belgrade Insight sought to bring quality journalism to its readers and subscribers.

Belgrade Insight covered political and economic developments in Serbia, but also told stories about people, businesses and events which shaped a unique and multi-faceted city like Belgrade.

In addition to detailed analysis and coverage of political, economic and business affairs, Belgrade Insight provided its readers with everything that expatriates, short-term visitors and local residents need to know in order to enjoy this great city.

It the past decade, it saw many changes in Serbia’s political and cultural climate: from the deep recession of early 2010s to Serbia’s candidate status in the EU, through Belgrade’s first Eurovision song contest and re-opening of city’s museums.

Although Belgrade Insight will no longer be printed, BIRN journalists and associates will continue their coverage of Belgrade and Serbia through the Balkan Insight website.

For any questions or refunds contact Snezana Caricic (snezana.caricic@birn.eu.com)